2531 NW 30th Ave., 503-841-5687, sasquatchbrewery.com. 11:30 am-8 pm daily. 6440 SW Capitol Highway, 503-402-1999. 3-10 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
OUTWARD BOUND / Sasquatch's sense of whimsy is apparent the moment you walk into its taproom. Hidden in an industrial no man's land on the edge of Northwest Portland, the cozy, warmly lit bar has camping lanterns on its tables, string lights lining the ceiling's wood beams and a giant mural depicting a Pacific Northwest landscape in which a racoon fills up a barrel of beer. Sasquatch's flagship location in Hillsdale is typically home to the brewery's more experimental batches—though on any given day, the Portland taproom has a lineup that's both reliable and adventurous. The sweet, Czech Pilsner Don't Stop Me Now has notes of toasted wheat, and the Woodboy, a piney Northwest-style IPA, is as fresh and aromatic as an old-growth forest. The more out-there choices are surprisingly balanced, too—even the most conservative beer drinker can appreciate the smooth, roasty peanut butter imperial stout Jabba the Nut. Shannon Gormley.
1570 NW 22nd Ave., 503-444-7597, breakside.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 820 NE Dekum St., 503-719-6475. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. 5821 SE International Way, Milwaukie, 503-342-6309. 3-9 pm Monday-Wednesday,
Noon-9 pm Thursday-Sunday.
IT'S ALL GOOD / Breakside would do just fine churning out one impossibly smooth and crushable IPA after another, and its humble taproom in Milwaukie houses more than enough medals to underscore that point. But brewmaster Ben Edmunds is never one to leave "good enough" alone—it seems his primary goal is to flex on the competition by fine-tuning interpretations of all the hottest new beer trends, whether that's a thick and peachy hazy IPA like Star Sprinkles, or the soft and refreshing SoCal Pils. The 2017 addition of a glistening two-story taproom in Slabtown gave Edmunds and his team the freedom to explore adventurous brews that complement Breakside's classics, making it one of the best breweries in town to sample emerging styles. Unfortunately, the two flights on offer are prix fixe, which may dissuade IPA bros from branching out to try the perfectly balanced stouts and outstanding sours that dot the menu. Bottom line, though: Breakside's least impressive beers are often better than the most popular tap handles at many other breweries. Pete Cottell.
10 Barrel Brewing
1411 NW Flanders St., 503-224-1700, 10barrel.com/pub/portland-brewery.11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
BIG TIMERS / At this point, hardcore beer snobs drink 10 Barrel through gritted teeth. The Bend-based brewer's 2014 sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev got it labeled a sellout, and its always-packed two-story brewpub in the Pearl District is a symbol of the broader mainstreaming of craft beer culture. (The backlash manifested again last year in an online flame war when Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis accused the company of lifting its slogan, writing on Instagram, "You can steal a lot of intellectual property when you've got that sweet, sweet Anheuser-Busch money.") But again, even the curmudgeons are still drinking, partly because the brand is too ubiquitous to avoid—and still too good to slag off. In Portland, brewer Whitney Burnside still churns out exemplary beers in just about every core style, from stouts to IPAs to Pilsners. And even if your morals preclude you from ordering a taster tray, just get the pizza—that's pretty dang good, too. Matthew Singer.
Von Ebert Brewing
131 NW 13th Ave., 503-820-7721, vonebertbrewing.com. 14021 NE Glisan St., 503-878-8708. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
PRODIGY / Nearly two years after the noggin-topped taps at this cavernous Pearl District pub were replaced with sleek wooden handles bearing tiny boars, it almost feels as if Von Ebert has been here all along. In beer years, the Fat Head's era, with its garish red accent wall and double-chinned cartoon logo slapped on every open surface, was basically a lifetime ago. Since the rebrand, the business has come into its own and quickly secured a spot among the city's best. It's almost always easy to find a seat inside the arched-roof expanse large enough to hold a couple of Cessnas. But once you're there, a difficult decision awaits: Do you order one of the tongue-stunning IPAs brewed in-house by Sam Pecoraro's team, or a beautifully intricate lager or wild ale made in Sean Burke's facility across town? The easiest solution is to just say "screw it" and get a bunch—that tactic recently led me to Pierre Le Chat, a French-style Pilsner that surges with a flavor I could only liken to an elevated Crunch Berry. The Volatile Substance IPA has heady pine notes—what drops of dew in a nearby forest would taste like just before evaporating. Andi Prewitt.
Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House
210 NW 11th Ave., 503-296-4906, deschutesbrewery.com/pubs/portland. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:00 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
BEND IN PDX / Since 2008, Bend-based Deschutes' Portland pub has been steadily pulling in locals and visitors alike. Located on the southbound streetcar route, parking may be challenging at times, but hey, streetcar. Inside, it's an Oregon-style beer hall-cum-ski lodge, with a reliably wide range of Deschutes beers on tap. The classics are from the Bend mothership, but the specialty taps are mostly brewed on the premises, and are often more interesting; get the Brewer's Choice tasting tray, and it might include a crisp competition-winning German-style Pilsner, a gently fruity bitter Kölsch, or a smoky winter warmer with spruce tips for a Nordic twist. Don't ignore the bottle list either; sour fans will find the Tempranillo Flanders intriguingly complex, and proof positive that this old-school brewery can still keep up with the best of the new breed. Don Scheidt.
412 NW 5th Ave., 503-564-2739, ascendantbeer.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday,11 am-9 pm Sunday.
RISE AND SHINE / Don't let the name change fool you—the brewery formerly known as Pints might be called Ascendant now, but its ambitions haven't risen much. And that's a good thing. Working with a humble 3.5-barrel system allows brewmaster Alan Taylor and head brewer Noah Palmer to continually experiment, rotating beers in and out of the lineup. And with its homey, brick-walled taproom hidden in a shadowy section of Old Town, the audience stays small enough that there's little pressure to get bigger and risk losing the qualities that made Ascendant one of Portland beer's best-kept secrets. Taylor is better known for his classic German brews at the higher-profile Zoiglhaus (page 28) in Lents, but you can still taste his Bavarian signature in the Glow and Plunder, a lightly sweet Pilsner that's among Ascendant's few year-round staples. A highlight of a recent visit, though, was Death Rides a Harley, a Belgian dark ale with plum notes and a 10.9 percent ABV you need to watch out for. Matthew Singer.